CORONAS DE LUZ PARA MARTIN ROTH (1977-2019)
Remembering Martin Roth’s show at Yours Mine & Ours Gallery last year, and feeling how it was equal parts unsettling, frustrating and beautifully hopeful. It also seemed to mark an important turning point for the artist.
His installation titled, “In November 2017 I collected a plant from the garden of a mass shooter”, centered on the desert holly, a native outlier that grows in the midst of the desert, and Roth found in Stephen Paddock’s garden in Mesquite. Here, the desert holly becomes a catalyst for dialogue, reflection and the incredible power of healing.
“During the exhibition’s run, Roth also sold lapel pins shaped like a desert holly to raise money for Coalition Z, a non-profit started by the activist Alex Lehman to engage Generation Z in political organizing around gun violence and other issues” (Andy Battaglia, ARTNews).
When so many of us struggled to come to terms with such horrific violence and its potential to be politicized, Roth did not run away from the opportunity to start a discussion and seek the change that he wanted to see: “By giving agency to plants and by viewing them as collaborators, I hope to raise questions about how we cope with violence. I don't believe in a hierarchy of humans, animals, and plantlife, and with my work, I hope to show how plants can change us—and affect change” (Martin Roth, Kickstarter Campaign).
Roth’s insatiable desire to unify nature with his own artistic practice rose to a crescendo when he sought to touch the lives of others and impact change in the present. In many ways, this is his greatest gift to us, and the way I will remember him most.
You can find Martin Roth’s work on his website: www.martinroth.org and Instagram @martinroth02